>>>>>>>>>Keep Moving>>>>>>>>>>

Just finished my morning workout…..whew!! This isolation and the ending of, “our life as we knew it”, can really take a toll on our physical AND mental health.

My newest habit is to change my motion to change my E-motion! When I was single, I joined a lot of aerobic classes at the gym I had a membership at and I was also in a hip-hop dance band as a singer. I was always exercising and dancing and then I gave my life to motherhood for 22, intense years, not that I would change a thing.

But things have changed, and although I now have a college student home again and a full time high-schooler here, I realized I need some deep and lasting motivation to keep my focus positive and my mind and body in shape! I started taking up aerobic dance and dancing again, in general. What a great, playful, new adventure!

Dancing increases flexibility (make sure you stretch first:), improves posture, increases core strength and is a natural mood lifter/ anxiety dissolver. When I turn on the loud music and start moving, those around me can’t seem to help but join in, which in turn, becomes a fun family activity!

Aroma therapeutic side note: all of the citrus essential oils are really helpful at this historical, uncertain time we have found our selves in. I have made a blend of a few drops of each; lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit and bergamot essential oils in a 2 ounce spray bottle of water and then mist in each room. They naturally invigorate and are intrinsically anti-viral, anti- bacterial and immune system supporters- perfect to help prevent the spread of any virus! This particular blend also has such a tropical aroma to it so it brings back happy thoughts from happier days at the sunny beach.

So, remember to, >>>>>Keep Moving>>>>>>, however you are able and utilize the pure natural aromas God gave us to keep us healthy and living our best life, no matter how quarantined you are atm<3

I am walking this road with you and I would love to hear from you today!

Coming Out of The Shadows

Change….it’s hard. There is so much to it. Overriding uncertainty and fear, being courageous, taking a step, acceptance that you may not be where you want to be, but how are you going to get there if you never begin?

I bought myself a curriculum suggetsted by my therapist called, The Artist’s Way. It is written by Julia Cameron, a screen writer, and it is somewhat of a hands-on classic for blocked artists. Cameron suggests writing three large amounts of “pages” everyday to get un stuck. It doesn’t matter if you are a writer, a musician a painter, a dancer, what ever your art form, the writing is a necessary means to a desired end.

The curriculum was suggested because I needed time to, drain my brain, as my therapist said, but it has been so encouraging to me as I have stepped out in many areas of creativity lately- I highly recommend it to anyone who is afraid to develop those deep desired aspirations.

This is what Cameron says to affirm those afraid to take themselves seriously in any realm of creativity.

“In order to move a way from the realm of the shadows into light of creativity, shadow artists must learn to take themselves seriously. With gentle, deliberate effort, they must nurture their artist child. Creativity is play, but for shadow artists, learning to allow themselves to play is hard work.”

This statement is so true of me! On one hand, I take myself way too seriously, on the other, I haven’t taken my desires, gifts and talents serious enough. On one hand, I have spent literal hours and years, alone, practicing, writing, singing, playing, taking lessons to improve, on the other hand, I have so easily hidden in my fear and have not wanted to step onto center stage using the excuse, “someone is always better than I am.”

A lot has changed in my life over the last four years. A cataclysmic event in my life, cloaked in the appearance of a “bad” thing, actually turned out to be an open door of hope and change in my life. I do not want to discount how, in many ways, it was a hurtful event, to many people because it was. But what are we supposed to do with the shadows of our life? Hide in them? Blame them? Avoid them at all costs? I don’t think so. I think we are to, as Henri Nouwen says, in so many ways, embrace the shadows and the light together. Life is full of both and both are intended to be lessons to us.

The event in my life was a glaring signal that something needed to change. Many things infact needed to change…first, me. I was living a false-self life. I had desires and dreams, but I had for years stuffed them so far down to my toes, thinking they were selfish instead of, ‘desires of my heart’, God had perhaps placed there.

Allowing myself to say, I do not want the next 25 years to be the way the first twenty-five were, was very new for me. It was liberating. I didn’t go about it all the right way, for sure. But when we take actions to grow and change, ripples occur and affect those we surround ourselves with.

I have decided I want to take positive actions that affect myself and the ones I love in a positive way- those are my perimeters after trying to change in a destructive way. It is not easy, change never is, but it doesn’t have the negative ramifications surrounding it like bad choices to change, have.

Just one aspect of this change is found in our new hobby of playing as a family band in local venues. My family has played in worship settings for years, and still continue to. But we have recently created a set list of music, that is meaningful to us as a family, and stepped out to share our love of music together with the community.

We play rock classics, pop songs, jazz and originals that give a back story of the things we have been through as a couple and a family and it has been met with encouragement and huge support. I, for many years, was a drummer for bands. Although I would still sing from, ‘behind the band’, even lead or sing my own songs, I always had the comfort of the first layer of musicians in front of me to keep me in the shadows. I couldn’t see the faces of those we were playing to very easily and that was fine with me!

Coming out of the shadows right now for me means, stepping out in the courage that I have been given something important to say and share. That my life counts, that I have a message and that there are others who need comfort from hearing it. Ultimately, Jesus continues to use my life, bring me out of the shadows and in to all that He has destined for me to be and for me to do. In the process, I am empathetic to others and can comfort others with the comfort I have received. Ultimately, that is what I think shadows were created for. When shadows are exposed to light, you see all the beauty, life and detail that was always laying quietly there all along<3

Turning 50- Beauty Much Deeper Than Skin.

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                                                                                     facial by Doug Larrow

Simply Skin, Clarion, PA

Wow! I used to think people were so old when they were fifty! I mean, in 5 years I could live in a 55 and over community like my parents used to…that’s so weird!

Here I am, it is what it is, I am what I am! I went to the Chiropractor the other day and he said; “Aren’t you so glad you started taking care of your self when you did, it shows! You don’t look older than 35”! I love that man!!

Seriously, I have learned that I do care about how I look but over the years it has come with much more balance than obsession. Many years ago a wise Christian woman told me that a smile was the best thing any woman could ever do for her face- a free face lift! I have been practicing that ever since!

I have recently been thinking about what I have learned over my life. In the last three years alone, I have learned more about myself than I could ever convey.  But some high-lights have been; Aromatherapy, Human Behavior  and Autism. I have done this  through classes and certification, living with my son, working in the field and personally working with therapists.

After playing the drums and piano most of my life, three years ago I started learning guitar  and returned to taking voice lessons again.  I have been working on pieces that are so challenging, I want to scream and throw them in the fire place!! I hate how uncomfortable and irritated change can make me feel, yet I desire to grow, and that takes incredible effort.

The most profound lesson I think I have learned in the last three years can be best conveyed by a story in Shauna Niequist’s book, Present Over Perfect. Shauna conversed with a man on a ferry ride  and he shared with her that he was skilled at making people “feel loved in an instant.” His business started out with genuine love and creativity and he loved spreading the message every where he spoke- he was extremely successful. He gave every one he met his best attentiveness and energy! But along the way, “he lost the ability to demonstrate real love to the woman and children who were at home”, and he eventually lost them.

The story of this man angers me because I have been the man, and I have also been charmed by the man! The story scares me because we can “loose” something we once had.  We save our best and turn on our energy for those who do not know us so well, not those closest to us. We get very good at being charming with relationships that are in the outer sphere because we simply do not want to express more effort learning better tools for intimacy at home.  I almost lost my soul in such an experience and I know of many who have. That is a very important lesson to learn, and yet, I am keenly aware of how capable I am of repeating it.

That made me think of a weighty scripture that has always grabbed me. Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.

Fearing the Lord will produce something of value, something lasting, pure and true. It has benefit, not just to the person who fears the Lord, but to others who have been recipients of the good works. It multiplies and ripples out in ways that make others want to give thanks for that person. In contrast, when we are charming and deceitful, it only serves self, scratches the momentary itch but at the same time makes self hungry for more, and can potentially ripple into a wake of destruction and ruin.

I am 50. I have been changing, growing and learning life altering lessons among other things. I want to be beautiful…but in ways that are much deeper than skin. In ways that are life giving and nurturing, today and forever<3

Some Through The Waters

 

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The Red Sea was before them and the mountains were to the side, an army with the finest weaponry behind, purposed to destroy the multitude in front of them and there was no where to go except up!

Have you every been there? I have many times and even now, I am still there. I am thankful for it though. I have been foolish many times before trying to find relief horizontally, I have taken what I thought was an easier way only to find out I was miles away from the path. When I start feeling that pressure, I look up! “God, what do you want me to do? You are the only One who can meet my needs and desires and has my best interest in mind. I do not know how to walk on water, and I can not swim in these roaring waves, what is the way  you want to lead me through that I am unable to see with my human eyes?”

I wouldn’t change any thing I have ever learned from these times. They are precious, they are a gift from Him to mold and conform me into His image.

Helichrysum is the perfect Essential Oil companion for times like these! Healing to trauma inside and outside of the body, emotionally balancing, great for cuts and wounds. If you are really “living” in this life, you are bound to get a few of those!! I am right here with you walking the road  (or water;-)less traveled ❤

God Leads His Dear Children Along/ Travis Cotrell

Ireland Forever!

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I dream about it…. the moss, the rocks, the thatched roofs. I close my eyes, especially on spring rainy days like this, and pretend that I am there surrounded by “my people”!

I want to hear the music, laugh at the stories and walk along the sod completely being absorbed in the culture and giving great thanks to God for it.

I have not been there yet ,my soul longs for it almost as much as heaven…..

Until then, I pray, dream, and create melodies and blends! Our newest line Is called Allegheny Woods! It’s like the freshness of the outdoors and the exhilaration of spring!

Made with Cypress and Laurel leaf it is sure to keep you pining (pun intended) for more!

Enjoy your week and all of the Irish people in your life! God Bless your day and raise a glass of your different kind of Shamrock Shake to …Ireland Forever!!20160314_093122.jpg